Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons joined Mut & Merloni Wednesday morning to discuss the Red Sox' possibilities for their next manager, where Theo Epstein will be next season, and his take on Terry Francona's departure.
"I think it was very difficult on Terry," Gammons said of Boston's late-season struggles. "Did it get out of control to some degree? Yeah I guess so. I think he has been portrayed too much as this guy who was cowering in a corner. ... He had been really beaten up. We've talked about it here, we've kidded about it, the tenures of managers in Boston should be judged in dog years. So at the end of 56 years of managing the Red Sox, he needed to move on."
Francona decided to walk away on Friday after much speculation that he would be pushed out by the front office after the September collapse. Gammons said that he believes Francona knew he was out no matter what he did.
"I had a strong implication that ownership was not going to pick up the option no matter what," Gammons said. "Now, when Theo on Thursday talked to Terry and said, 'OK, we want to go in and make your case on how we move forward.' At that point, I think Terry was convinced no matter what he did or said, they weren't going to pick up the option. And I don't think Terry Francona's the type of person who is going to go in and beg for anything, and he shouldn't have to, not with his history."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On if Epstein will move to the Cubs or stick with Boston: "I can understand the excitement of being the first guy to bring a world championship to both the Red Sox and the Cubs. It's an exciting proposition. ... I think they say [to the Cubs], 'Go ahead and talk to him.' And then we'll see how it works out. Knowing how rational John Henry is, I think that's a distinct possibility. It's, OK, you can talk to him, but can they offer him more, can they offer him something better than whatever they structured here? One thing that's happened here, that I'm told by a number of people, one thing that's evolved in the last couple of months is that the relationship between Theo and Larry Lucchino has gotten much better. That leads me to believe that it can get worked out better."
On potential compensation the Red Sox might seek from the Cubs if Epstein leaves, including whether the Cubs could be asked to take John Lackey: "No [on Lackey]. I think that unless they're going to do a John Lackey-Carlos Zambrano deal, but I don't think that would happen. I think they would probably go, end up giving up a couple of really good prospects, especially if they're pitchers, because that's something that the Red Sox could really use right now. I think that's the most likely scenario. It's been said many times that [the Red Sox in 2002] actually had agreed to trade Kevin Youkilis for Billy Beane, but that's actually not true. I was going back over this the other day. It was really weird, because Billy was actually negotiating with Paul DePodesta, who was going to take over Billy's job in Oakland. So Billy was acting as the Red Sox general manager and DePodesta was acting as the A's general manager, even though neither one of them was already in his position. And, in the end, he explained, Billy said to Paul, 'Look, there are only three players here at that time in the organization -- Kevin Youkilis, Hanley Ramirez and Kelly Shoppach. I can't give you one of the three real assets in the organization. And if you hold out for it long enough, then you're not going to get the general manager's job. So we have to work it out so we all get what we want.' As it worked out, Billy made the decision to stay closer to his family. He believes it was a life-changing decision not to come to Boston."
On the Red Sox' managerial search: "I was told that their list is pretty close to 40 at some point. You look at it and you say, 'Well, that's the only way to go about it.' You're going through every single name for a week. They don't need to have a manager for a month. ... There aren't guys out there that you're going to say, 'OK, this guy is perfect.' Because you are not going to get those guys.
"Eric Wedge isn't leaving Seattle because he has so much power there and he moved his family there. I think he'd be terrific [in Boston] ... but I don't see that happening, I don't think Seattle would let him go. I think [Don] Mattingly would be a great person here. Someone suggest if they pay Frank McCourt's October MasterCard bill then maybe he'd give him up, but I don't think the Dodgers can let Mattingly go, especially after he stabilized the entire franchise midseason. I see names that make a lot of sense, but the question is, could they come in and deal with this high-priced, high-profile, high-ego team. To me, you need a guy who is really good with pitching and really good with presence.
"When you move forward, to the next manager, you have to think about this: One of the things that happens in baseball is that they don't pay or empower coaches enough. I don't think it should be the manager's job to clean out everything. I look at Arizona and what Kirk Gibson's done, and nobody's going to mess with Kirk Gibson, but on the other hand, you've got Don Baylor and Alan Trammell and Charles Nagy, he's got unbelievable coaches. And they're all paid."
Daniel Jeremiah calls NFL Sunday to preview the NFL Draft and discuss what the New England Patriots will be looking to do starting Thursday night.
In hour 2 of NFL Sunday, we get more draft talk from Price and Dickerson. They discuss if the Pats will trade up or down at all or what they can get by staying put. Also, what does the RB position look like for New England? We hear from Daniel Jeremiah from the NFL Network and NFL.com and get his thoughts on the NFL draft and what the Patriots will do. Finally, the boys talk about the Greg Hardy situation in Dallas.
It's finally the week of the NFL Draft and the guys are psyched. They kick off the show discussing the release of the NFL schedule and how they expect the Pats to do against a relatively easy road for the Super Bowl champs. Greg and Chris talk about any difficult match-ups and if any teams in the AFC East can contend with the Patriots. Then the boys move on to the Draft and where the Pats may go. WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia joins the program to discuss his thoughts on the upcoming draft, the Pats needs and his ideas on why the Patriots may in fact trade up this season.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Joe and Lou Merloni talk with the hero of the night, Mookie Betts after the Red Sox come back to beat the Toronto Blue Jays in walk-off fashion in the first game of the series
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox super utility man Brock Holt, who hit the game winning 3 run home run that propelled the Red Sox over the Baltimore Orioles, and played some stellar defense to seal the win.
Continued Red Sox talk on benching Victorino and the Red Sox pitching issues..and Sean's love for the band Poison.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
The great Marc Fucarile discussed his struggles since he lost his leg two years ago.
Glenn, Gerry and Kirk discussed the riots in Baltimore.
Frank Perullo joined the show to defend his poll.
Manny Pacquiao tells a story about how his dad ate the family dog when he was just 12 years old. Charley Casserly thinks he's taping a segment for NFL Network..... whoops... it's LIVE. ESPN 2 airs video games causing Twitter to go ballistic.
Ray Lewis gives an impassioned speech to the rioting citizens of Baltimore. Also, news broke that the Jets will be fined 100K for the tampering of Darrelle Revis, but no draft picks will be surrendered.
Christian's favorite player, Brock Holt, spoke about John Farrell's transparency regarding his role with the team, and the confidence that he and his fellow position players has in the starting rotation.
the top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the struggling Red Sox, in particular the tattered shape of their starting and relief pitching.
Dale and Michael discuss the sweeping nature of the exit of the Celtics, and whether or not Kelly Olynyk made a dirty play when he injured Kevin Love's shoulder early in the final game.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Gerry, Kirk and Glenn discuss Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer and Chris Gasper's latest column.
Football fans and Fantasy Footballers know that there is NO Offseason in the NFL, so Jim and Pete are back with the first of a series of Fantasy Football Podcasts of the “NFL Draft variety.” Tune in and you’ll get an in depth analysis on Pete’s most first batch of scouting reports on this year’s crop of Rookie Targets. Jim and Pete kick it off with a lot of focus on a Runningback rich draft class, some of the top Wide Receiver talent and touch on the top Quarterbacks, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Enjoy!
Uncle Buck joins Chris on the show again to talk about Raw from 4/20, finishing maneuvers and gives a few classic match picks.
Stephen A. expressed his thoughts on Tom Brady's White House snub and Floyd Mayweather's past.More from this show
The Celtics, unsurprisingly, were swept by the Cavs and Jackie helped the guys recap the season, and the crazy final game which saw some hard fouls as well as an ejection of JR Smith.More from this show